June 4th, 2006

Sequoia

An Inconvenient Truth, and, a truth that's inconvenient for Steve Westly.

An Inconvenient Truth is very much worth seeing. It does a good job of making the threats that a lot of us know intellectually are out there into something visual and visceral. Incidentally, I recently picked up a VHS copy of After the Warming, the 1991 production created as a documentary from 2041, describing how globabl warming had affected the world. Considering the stuff that's happened in the last couple of years, it's starting to look pretty prophetic -- IIRC, Burke had cities starting to get devastated in the mid '00s. Just like real life. In the first, historical/retrospective episode, he also cited some of the same incidents that Gore discusses, such as the collapse of the Atlantic Conveyor after the Canadian ice shelf melted in the interior and then got dumped into the ocean all at once when the ice dams broke, and the rapid changes that caused in climate (in that particular case, turning Europe from something like the present temperate climate, to Alaska-like deep-freeze, in under a decade). Gore adds something new though: the collapse of Larsen B, which, after having been stable for ten thousand years, broke up and fell into the ocean in less than three months. Gore explains the mechanism by which this is believed to have happened, and shows some disturbing evidence that this same process may already be underway in Greenland -- which has as much ice on it as the mass that killed the Conveyor last time.

In other news...

From: Thomas Yocom
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:00 PM
To: [various papers and interest groups, and Angelides and Westly campaign staff]
Subject: False claims about wetlands damage

As a former EPA wetlands scientist, I was involved in the enforcement case that has been cited in attack ads by the Westly campaign. One of the claims made in these ads is that Mr. Angelides paved over "thousands of acres of wetlands." That claim is without merit. Whereas I do not know the number of acres that Mr. Angelides may have been involved in developing, only a small fraction included wetlands. Typically, wetlands make up less than 5% of the landscape.

That a newspaper may have incorrectly reported that Mr. Angelides destroyed thousands of acres of wetlands is no excuse for the Westly campaign to not check the facts before attacking Mr. Angelides with someone else's false information.

It is true that the EPA initiated an enforcement action in the Riverwest development case in the late 1980's, and it is true that Mr. Angelides was one of the Riverwest representatives with whom EPA met in resolving this case. To my knowledge, Mr. Angelides was not fined, and the Riverwest development implemented mitigative measures to offset the wetland areas that had been filled without a permit.

There simply are not "thousands of acres of wetlands" remaining in California that could be filled by any individual. To continue to report this is disingenuous, at best.

I am neither a supporter of Mr. Angelides or Mr. Westly. I simply do not like misinformation being used to attack anyone. I am sending a copy of this message to both campaigns.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Thomas G. Yocom
Former EPA National Wetlands Expert

Dr Yocom has a fairly impressive Googlable history. In addition to his work at EPA, he has collaborated on papers about water issues at the USGS and NOAA.

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Dem Donkey

Conference call...

So, as things ended up, I wasn't able to get anybody to come join me for the conference call. I did trade some emails with a number of members of the Silicon Valley Dean Democratic Club, and none of them wanted to come because they'd rather be out actually working -- SVDDC apparently had tables out at the local farmer's markets today and yesterday, and we've had people handing out flyers at local showings of An Inconvenient Truth, promoting Phil's endorsements from the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Vote the Coast (which has done a superb job at providing rapid-response against Westly's attacks).

Phil was, himself, calling in from the airport lounge at Van Nuys, preparing to get on a puddlejumper to fly to San Diego for an evening rally. (He was also in Oakland and San Francisco this morning, so it's been a heck of a day for him.) There were a couple of jokes at the expense of the big-spender rival, compared to Phil flying coach (despite exceedingly long legs).

The call was largely a pep rally, but there were a couple of substantive issues discussed. The one that stood out was dealing with education -- in answer to a question from Phil's own city councilman, Rob Fong, Phil discussed (and praised) a program in the Sacramento schools that's aiming to create smaller, more differentiated public high schools, rather than huge institutions that can offer an impressive menu of options, but tend to have giant classes and little personal attention for individual students.

I also got to ask a question myself, which was more about the dynamics of the campaign itself. To wit: Westly's shown he's willing to self-finance, to the tune of $40M. Airtime will matter in the fall as much as it does now, and some people might feel that Westly's checkbook makes him a more attractive candidate. Phil discussed our fundraising (we've matched Westly thus far by building up a list of almost 30k small donors), and asked all of us to tell our friends: If Phil wins on Tuesday, please, please donate to the campaign. The campaign estimates that in order to be competitive this fall, we need to double our number of contributors. It doesn't have to be much. Give $50, or $25, or even $10. Or sign up for a $10 monthly donation to run through November (I know there is some way to do this, but I'm failing to find it right now; if anybody does find the correct link, please let me know; if all else fails, you could call the campaign office, 916-448-1998, and I'm sure somebody there would be able to take down your info for a monthly donation; tell them Auros sent you!). Arnie's going to have a firehose of cash, from his fundraisers around the country, visiting with the same kinds of people who back Bush, and who backed the assault on Gray Davis when he was trying to fight Enron and the other companies that jacked up our energy bills. We're never going to raise the kind of money he'll have, but we can at least make sure our ads don't blink on and off like a Christmas light. Average folks like you and me can make the difference between having an answer out to a negative ad in three days, or three weeks.

Thinking more about today -- and Tuesday -- I gotta say, if the response I've gotten in the three precincts of College Terrace are anything to go by, with Westly HQ less than a block from my house, we're gonna win this thing handily. *knock wood* *fingers crossed* *etc*
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Focused

The Auros Endorsements

Here's the Pizza and Politics Ballot Guide for June 6, 2006. Apologies that we couldn't find time to do it earlier. Feedback is welcome, in the short time remaining before we all have to go cast our votes.

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